The setting for the gorgeous real wedding that we’re sharing with you on the blog today is nothing short of stunning as you wonderful brides-to-be can see for yourselves this Sunday as we launch our collection of UNVEILED Fine Art Wedding Shows, The Luxe Tour, at breath-takingly beautiful Yorkshire venue Wharfedale Grange.
Styled to absolute perfection, this one-of-kind barn conversion never fails to impress, so much so that today’s bride and groom, Mary and Adam, were so in love with the sound of it alone, that they snapped up a date before this recently-launched venue was even complete.
And so we are thrilled to be able to open its doors this Sunday 10th March, 11am to 3pm, FREE ENTRY, and welcome those of you on the venue hunt to see this true gem in all its beauty while meeting its super helpful and efficient team, who will go above and beyond to deliver your dream day (as Mary and Adam report in today’s post!)
Not only will we be showcasing Wharfedale, but we will be filling its impressive interior spaces with the finest Yorkshire wedding suppliers to inspire, excite and advise on all big day elements; from photography, bridalwear, entertainment and styling, to florals, cakes, catering and rings, this really is a must-attend show at a hugely swoon-worthy venue (full show details and pre-registration).
But don’t just take our word for it, as bride Mary is here to talk us through all the details of her and beau Adam’s celebrations at Wharfedale. Choosing to host a festive big day, complete with a rich seasonal colour palette, opulent blooms and a host of thoughtful touches, it’s 100 per cent Pinable!
With images by Daz Mack.
Mary says: We got engaged on holiday in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in February 2018. Adam had bought a beautiful sapphire stone months (actually it was years!) before the proposal, and he organised for a bespoke ring to be made for me, along with some diamonds that his mum had kindly given to him. We were lucky enough to fly out the day before The Beast From The East arrived, and landed to gorgeous sunshine in Cape Town. On the first afternoon of the holiday, Adam got down on one knee, with the ring box open and I knew the big moment had arrived. It is a memory we will always treasure.
We set the date for Wednesday 19th December 2018, which meant it was a mid-week winter wedding. We were quite open minded on dates when we were planning and had recently been to a December wedding at Ripon Cathedral and the Old Deanery, which we had absolutely loved. The atmosphere was very cosy and warm, there were Christmas carols in the church service, and cinnamon sticks for favours. This got us thinking about our own winter wedding!
We ultimately decided on the week before Christmas as we knew some family and friends would be going away for their Christmas holidays, but hoped that most people could take the Thursday/Friday off work, so that our wedding could be a huge party to kick off the festive period!
Our ceremony was at All Saints’ Church, Bramham, which is where I grew up. For my family there are a lot of sentimental memories with the church, and so we felt that it was important to have the service there.
Our reception was at Wharfedale Grange, a beautiful barn conversion near Harewood House. We first visited Wharfedale in March, at which point the conversion was very much still a work in progress! We met Claire Thomas, who runs the venue, and she explained the final vision and showed us all the designs, a couple of the finished rooms and the pieces of furniture that she was going to use when the venue was ready. We were sold straightaway – no other venue could top it, even though we had only seen the shell of the building and it wasn’t yet finished – we just knew it was going to be perfect!
We wanted the feel of the day to be warm, happy, festive, and tried to bring in “us” through the little details.
Our colour scheme was made up of burgundy, greens, golds and creams. Adam wanted to wear his Royal Agricultural University tie on the day – which is burgundy, gold and black, so we took it from there, bringing in greens to go with the festive feel, and creams so that it still felt like a wedding.
My dress was by Suzanne Neville, bought from The Bridal Collection Harrogate. It was May by the time I got thinking about dress shopping, so with only eight months until the wedding I was feeling the pressure as many dress shops say you need to buy the dress quite far in advance!
Me, my mum Val and Adam’s mum Amanda visited The Bridal Collection on the day of Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding, but my dress turned out to be more of a Kate dress. Lace along the top, a sweetheart neckline, and an A-line skirt and train! I felt very comfortable in it, and if I’m honest, I felt like a total princess!
Adam wore dark grey tails, and a pale grey waistcoat, which he chose from Suit Direct at the York Designer outlet. The groomsmen were matching, and as one of his best men lives far away, the suits needed to be from a shop that had branches across the country.
The bridesmaids wore burgundy, floor length dresses from Maids to Measure, purchased at Sophie Likes in Harrogate. Three of the bridesmaids live in London, so the dresses needed to be from a shop with branches across the country too!
The benefit of Maids to Measure is that you can choose different styles of dress in the same colour (or vice versa, different colour dresses in the same style). My five best friends chose three different styles to wear, and each of them looked stunning.
My makeup was done by Gemma Senior, a local make-up artist based in Boston Spa.
The rest of our hair and makeup was done at Blu Hair & Beauty in Wetherby. There were eight of us in total and I think we had four hair stylists and two makeup artists rotating us all round – it was a military operation! We were really well looked after and enjoyed some Bucks Fizz while we were being pampered.
Me and the bridal party, Adam and the groomsmen, and family were all arriving from different venues. Adam’s mum organised transport from a large coach to executive mini buses and a Bentley Mulsanne for each of us to arrive at the church, and then onwards to Wharfedale Grange. The vehicles were organised via American Pie Limos in Sheffield.
The best bit of transport was the JCB tractor which Adam organised via W Scruton Limited. I managed (with help from the bridesmaids!) to get into the tractor with minimum fuss. Adam did an impressive five-point turn outside the church and then sped off to Wharfedale Grange – getting up to a top rate speed of 39 mph!
Daz Mack was our fantastic photographer. We think he deserves a prize and would highly recommend him! He is so calm and friendly – he put everyone at ease. Daz captured some beautiful shots of the outdoor scenery as well as thoughtful and natural shots of our guests. He managed to capture all the group shots that we asked for, made it seem easy when the lighting changed around sunset time, and absolutely nailed the sparkler photos we did in the evening!
He is great at keeping in close contact, incredibly responsive and we love the photo gallery – he turned it around within four weeks of the wedding. We couldn’t have asked for a better photographer! Highly recommended.
Mark Lenik was our videographer, and again he was very calm and friendly. He worked incredibly hard behind the scenes, and even managed to get the drone up to do some aerial shots while we were outside.
We have seen videos of his beautiful camera work and can’t wait to see the finished version of our wedding video!
Leafy Couture provided all of the bouquets, buttonholes and venue decorations. There were so many different colours and textures – the team are incredibly talented.
Sarah and her lovely team delivered the bouquets to my house in the morning, and the flower arrangements to church. The reception venue was also decorated with burgundy table runners, lots of Christmas trees and fairy lights, and mini trees on each of the tables (which went down a treat with our guests as gifts at the end of the night!).
I left the printing of the seating plan to the week before the wedding and had not put any thought into how to actually get it printed (I would not recommend doing that, I was in a real panic about it!). Wharfedale Grange provide lovely stands to display seating plans on, which I’d originally planned to use. However, having a top table and three long barn style tables didn’t seem to fit most of the online seating plan templates I’d found, but then one of our friends recommended CelebrationPrintCo on Etsy. Thankfully we were able to get both a seating plan and an order of the day printed on large banners which arrived a couple of days later. The banners came with their own stands, which was lucky given they were six feet tall.
As favours, we bought pin badges from Macmillan, which was in tribute to family members that we have lost to cancer. There were little bow-ties, or gold/rose gold hearts for each guest. We also gave each guest a handmade wooden name tag, which they could take away to hang on their Christmas trees.
We’d initially decided not to have a cake, but then met Alice from Copper Spoon Cakery at a wedding fair and her amazing tasters changed our minds!
Alice is an amazing lady – she has a real talent for baking delicious cakes and coming up with different styles/ themes. For us, she designed a cake table which included gingerbread cake houses, orange and cranberry heart-shaped bundt cakes, espresso and cinnamon bundt cakes, and two large sponge cakes, including my favourite, chocolate and salted caramel. We would highly recommended Alice to other couples.
Friends4Dinner were our caterers. Our menu included an Italian anti-pasti sharing starter, daube of beef with winter vegetables, and a chocolate tasting board. Not forgetting the cheese tower and fat rascals that F4D arranged for the evening buffet!
Wharfedale Grange provided a wonderful selection of drinks; mum and I had a brilliant evening tasting the wines on offer a few weeks before the big day! We also chose Espresso Martinis and Harvey Wallbangers for a cocktail hour after the meal, and not to mention the ‘help yourself’ prosecco tap, which was a huge success!
The Wilde Ones band (hired via Jonny Ross Music) came to perform in the evening, who we would highly recommended. All went smoothly, they set up behind the scenes and then performed our first dance song – an acoustic version of Ain’t Nobody – followed by two amazing sets including The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Tina Turner and some favourites that we had requested in advance. In between sets they also DJ’d, and again managed to weave in the songs we’d requested – Taylor Swift went down a treat.
We have lost some close family members and wanted to remember them during the day. Mum and I talked about how we wanted to remember dad (Tony), and Adam and I talked about how we would remember the grandparents that we have lost. We didn’t want it to be too sombre, so kept it subtle and included them in little ways.
We included a reading in our church service which we had also used at dad’s funeral, and was read by my aunty, his sister. Mum walked me down the aisle, and mum did the traditional ‘father of the bride’ speech. My something borrowed was a necklace which mum had made when a diamond from her engagement ring fell out of the ring. It went missing for months and then suddenly reappeared!
The confetti was made with dried petals from Adam’s grandma Mary’s funeral flowers.
We would 100 per cent recommend Wharfedale Grange to other brides- and grooms-to-be.
The venue itself is specifically designed for weddings, so every detail has been thought of, meaning every aspect of the day flows smoothly. There are so many different spaces in the venue, and it is beautifully decorated – it feels luxurious and totally in keeping with the surrounding Yorkshire countryside. The bar is epic, and there are quiet lounge areas upstairs, for anyone who wants to retreat from the busy dancefloor in the evening. All the sound system and lights are already set up, so there is no extra hassle in organising those.
Claire and the team who work at Wharfedale Grange are so passionate about what they do, and they worked incredibly hard to make the day all run as planned, without the bride or groom needing to keep an eye on the clock. We were welcomed by the team when we first pulled up in the tractor, with a glass of fizz, and a warm blanket! Claire or Zach then gave us a nudge whenever we needed to do something, and did an amazing job calling the guests to be seated and announcing us into the room for the wedding breakfast, then for the cake cutting and first dance.
We can’t express our thanks to the venue enough – exceptional!
The tractor ride! We had about ten miles to drive and going through the village of Collingham we got stuck behind a road sweep going at about 6 mph – all the cars behind must have thought it was us going so slowly but it wasn’t! The best part was waving at passengers in the cars travelling the other way – I have never seen so many people smiling and waving from their cars before!
The journey gave Adam and I the chance to have a catch up on the events of the night before (turns out his best man may have gotten him a little bit worse for wear) and to talk about the rest of the day ahead.
We went to Lapland in Finland for our minimoon, and our honeymoon to St Lucia is yet to come.
Finland was incredible – we booked it as we hoped to see the Northern Lights, and we both enjoy active holidays. We went on Northern Lights excursions each evening and stayed in an aurora lodge with a glass roof so that we could even watch the Northern Lights whilst lying in bed. We stayed there for three nights and were very lucky to see them every night. Every time we had to pinch ourselves!
We also fitted in lots of wintery activities including ice fishing, husky dog sledging, snow mobiling and snow shoeing. It was totally different to any other trip we have been on, and we’d love to go back.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – listen to other people’s advice, but if you feel strongly about something then do it your way.
Also, it is possible to organise a wedding in less than 12 months, so don’t automatically think you need to arrange your wedding for 2020 and beyond!
During the planning, I used the real wedding stories on Brides Up North for inspiration! I found it really handy for someone who is not very creative, like me, to see what other people have done with dresses, hair, decorations etc.